Three-dimensional in vitro models answer the right questions in ADPKD cystogenesis

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018 Aug 1;315(2):F332-F335. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00126.2018. Epub 2018 Apr 25.


Novel technologies, new understanding of the basement membrane composition, and better comprehension of the embryonic development of the mammalian kidney have led to explosive growth in the use of three-dimensional in vitro models to study a range of human disease pathologies (Clevers H. Cell 165: 1586-1597, 2016; Shamir ER, Ewald AJ. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 15: 647-664, 2014). The development of these effective model systems represents a new tool to study the progressive cystogenesis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). ADPKD is a prevalent and complex monogenetic disease, characterized by the pathological formation of fluid fill cysts in renal tissue (Grantham JJ, Mulamalla S, Swenson-Fields KI. Nat Rev Nephrol 7: 556-566, 2011; Takiar V, Caplan MJ. Biochim Biophys Acta 1812: 1337-1343, 2011). ADPKD cystogenesis is attributed to loss of function mutations in either PKD1 or PKD2, which encode for two transmembrane proteins, polycystin-1 and polycystin-2, and progresses with loss of both copies of either gene through a proposed two-hit mechanism with secondary somatic mutations (Delmas P, Padilla F, Osorio N, Coste B, Raoux M, Crest M. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 322: 1374-1383, 2004; Pei Y, Watnick T, He N, Wang K, Liang Y, Parfrey P, Germino G, St George-Hyslop P. Am Soc Nephrol 10: 1524-1529, 1999; Wu G, D'Agati V, Cai Y, Markowitz G, Park JH, Reynolds DM, Maeda Y, Le TC, Hou H Jr, Kucherlapati R, Edelmann W, Somlo S. Cell 93: 177-188, 1998). The exaggerated consequences of large fluid filled cysts result in fibrosis and nephron injury, leading initially to functional compensation but ultimately to dysfunction (Grantham JJ. Am J Kidney Dis 28: 788-803, 1996; Norman J. Biochim Biophys Acta 1812: 1327-1336, 2011; Song CJ, Zimmerman KA, Henke SJ, Yoder BK. Results Probl Cell Differ 60: 323-344, 2017). The complicated disease progression has scattered focus and resources across the spectrum of ADPKD research.

Keywords: 3D in vitro culture; ADPKD; organoid; polycystin; stem cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibrosis
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Mutation
  • Organoids / metabolism
  • Organoids / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / genetics
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / metabolism
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / pathology*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / physiopathology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • TRPP Cation Channels / genetics
  • Tissue Scaffolds


  • TRPP Cation Channels
  • polycystic kidney disease 1 protein
  • polycystic kidney disease 2 protein